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Here's what it's *actually* like to start a successful YouTube channel

Ever dreamed of pursuing YouTube as a career? We've *all* been there (well, many of us, anyway). If you've ever wondered what it'd be like to share your opinions for a living, we got the lowdown from commentary YouTuber CC Marie on everything you might want to know.

Girls' Life: How'd you get started?

CC: I've always loved watching YouTube and, to be honest, I thought about starting my own channel for years before actually doing it. I always knew that it would be a commentary and video essay-type channel because that's the content I most enjoy watching—I love, among others, Contrapoints, TiffanyFerg, D'Angelo Wallace, Jordan Theresa, Casey Aonso and Natalia Taylor. Early in the pandemic, I was unemployed and wanted a productive way to fill my time. So I sat down and made my first video and I've been doing it ever since.

Girls' Life: What practical tips have helped your channel grow?

CC: Respond to as many comments and DMs as you reasonably can, especially when you're first starting out. Don't get too bogged down with making technically perfect videos early on. There's going to be a steep learning curve as you learn about lighting, video editing and other technical elements. Your first uploads probably won't be cinematic masterpieces and that's OK! Then, pick one small thing (lighting, sound, transitions) to try to do better in your next videos. Incremental improvements add up and it's more achievable than striving for instant perfection.

Girls' Life: And how do you grow your channel while keeping your mental and emotional health intact?

CC: First, learn to differentiate between hate and criticism. When you're a perfectionist like me and you've put a lot of time into a video, it's easy to be resistant to any criticism. But there are times it's actually been really helpful to engage with legitimate criticism I've gotten on my videos. But when you do get actual hate comments, don't engage. It's completely pointless and a waste of emotional energy. When someone's truly just being a bully, delete the comment and move on.

Finally, accept that you will make mistakes and, when you do, don't be afraid ito apologize and admit that you were wrong. It takes a lot of the pressure off when you can go to your audience and honestly admit you messed up.

Girls' Life: How much time do you spend on YouTube each week?

CC: About 20 to 30 hours a week between researching, writing, filming, editing and responding to comments and DMs. It's almost always a surprise how long a video takes from start to finish, which is part of the reason I'm not working on a set posting schedule. Sometimes a video comes together in just a few days, and sometimes I'm rewriting and refilming for weeks before I'm happy with the final product.

Girls' Life: Biggest highlight of starting your channel (so far)?

CC: One of the coolest moments was when TiffanyFerg, a YouTuber I've watched for years, saw one of my videos and shouted it out on Instagram. It's such a good feeling when someone you admire notices and appreciates your work. 

Girls' Life: And...lowest moment? 

CC: The worst moment was probably when I looked too deeply into where my external traffic was coming from and found some random guy's blog where he'd written an entire hate article on me and one of my videos. It was such a bizarre thing to stumble upon. That's another piece of advice I have...don't seek out or ruminate on places like that on the Internet where people are talking negatively about you. It won't do you any good.

Girls' Life: Any advice for girls hoping to start YouTube?

CC: Just go for it! As a teenager, I was way too shy and concerned with what others thought of me to put myself out there, and now I see that I shouldn't have let that stop me. 

Share *your* YouTube story with us @girlslifemag!

by Katherine Hammer | 4/7/2021
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